Panel on COVID-19 likely to recommend on using CSR funds for vaccinating cos' staff: Paul

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) A high level committee on COVID-19 is likely to recommend on allowing corporates to use CSR funds for vaccinating employees and local communities to control COVID-19, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said on Monday.

Paul in an interview to PTI said that as India moves to immunise individuals above 50 years, the government will decide on funding the vaccination programme well in time.

'Again, I would say this (allowing CSR for COVID-19 vaccination) is also under consideration.

'How to use the CSR funds for vaccinating and COVID-19 control has been discussed, and we will come up with specific recommendations in due course,' Paul, who is also the chairman of the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), said.

Last month, a CII Taskforce on vaccines has also recommended inclusion of certain elements in the vaccination programme as part of the 2 per cent corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure required to be undertaken by a class of profitable entities, saying it will encourage the private sector to inoculate its workforce and help enhance the reach of vaccines.

Paul said the central government has decided that the cost of the first 3 crore beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination will be borne by the Union government.

These beneficiaries belong to the healthcare fraternity and frontline workers.

'As we move to immunise the next large groups, the real focus of the first wave of vaccination namely individuals above the age of 50 years, this point how the resources would be met by the Union government and states will be clarified.

'This is a decision which is yet to be taken and it will be communicated well in time,' he said.

According to the government, vaccination shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.

More than 58 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated till now. PTI BKS BAL BAL